From Camper to Staff: An American’s Perspective
BY MARCI BRUSTMAN, SECOND YEAR STAFF MEMBER, CAMPER SINCE 2009
I first arrived at Perlman Camp in 2009 as a camper. I came on the Westchester Bus with my sister and I couldn’t believe that I was leaving my family for the first time. I remember sitting next to her on the bus and I was really nervous because I didn’t know what to expect. I remember my sister saying, “Marci, get ready for the best summer of your life”. I saw the Perlman sign coming into camp and I immediately turned off my green iPod nano. After that moment, the staff made me feel so welcomed and I couldn’t wait to get camp started.
Now, starting my ninth summer at camp as a second-year staff, the people I met in 2009 are still my dearest friends. Over the course of my experience at camp, being an American, I have met people from all over the world. As a camper, I have had counselors from Israel, England, Australia, and New Zealand. I always loved learning from staff from around the world because they taught us about their cultures and their lifestyles. This really opened my eyes to what it is like to grow up around the world. In addition, now looking back at my camper years, I really value our friendship and all of the life skills that I have learned from my international counselors. What is amazing about Perlman is that they encourage the sense of connection from around the world. As a camper, my favorite program was International Night because it was amazing seeing all the campers and staff come together, learn, and be patriotic for their home countries. Today, I am still connected with my counselors and friends from all over the world and constantly check in to see how they are.
One of the most special bonds I’ve created through the years is with a friend from Israel that I met as a camper. It is so amazing that Perlman has a strong representation of campers from Israel, year after year. Last year, on my senior trip to Israel with my Jewish Day School, I stayed with my friend that came to camp years ago, who is from Tel Aviv. Running off the bus in Tel Aviv when I saw her in the parking lot is a feeling that I will never forget. Being able to go all over the world and have the ability to stay with anyone from camp provides a real testament to what Perlman is. Perlman builds that sense of community that not only links people from America but provides a global network of friends; this experience is uniquely Perlman and I am eternally grateful for everything camp provided for me.
Marci is a second year staff member returning as the Judaic Specialist for Summer 2018.